We thank Lycoming County Commissioners and Planning and Community Development Department for granting Bassett Engineering the opportunity to help lead this historic Bridge Bundling Program. Together we studied, designed, engineered and constructed 17 bridges at a total cost of roughly $7,100,000, or an average of $420,000 per bridge, which is an outstanding value. We started in June 2020 during COVID and completed the entire Program in just 3½ years working with 3 contractors and 3 manufacturers under 4 separate Bundles.
We congratulate Lycoming County on taking the lead on this groundbreaking project whereby the Commissioners took responsibility to repair and replace municipally-owned bridges at great political cost due to utilizing the unjustly controversial vehicle registration fee. Bundling multiple bridges under one program is critical to realizing an economy of scale. We completed several bridge bundling projects for individual municipalities, but only a couple at a time. The County has the financial resources and just as critical the experienced transportation planning staff in Mark Murawski, Shannon Rossman, Scott Williams, Austin Dailey and Sal Vitko to bundle a large group of bridges under one project, and that large number is needed to realize true economies of scale.
Civil infrastructure including airports and railways, ports, roads and bridges, water and sewer systems are the foundational building blocks of civilization itself. which cannot function absent good quality roads and bridges. Constructing and maintaining civil infrastructure is one of the primary tasks of government. Unfortunately, civil infrastructure has been abused by many elements of society who hijack it for their own questionable purposes and in so doing inflate the costs to subsidize their own goals, which are unrelated to the infrastructure itself. The common excuse is that civil infrastructure is so important that cost is no object.
Another critical function of government is its fiduciary responsibility to maximize the effectiveness of its expenditures to minimize the costs on the taxpayers who support it. Government should function as cost effectively as possible, particularly at the County and Municipal level, which do not print money and do not have wide latitude to raise taxes. Lycoming County has always embraced its fiscal responsibility, particularly our 3 commissioners, Tony Mussare, Scott Metzger and Rick Mirabito. A key aspect to bridge bundling is its cost-effectiveness through the use of COSTARS to prepurchase aluminum and concrete box culverts and concrete arches, and through bundling multiple similar bridges under a single construction contract. We built 4 aluminum box culverts under Bundle 1, 5 precast concrete box culverts and arches under Bundle 2, 5 GRS bridges under Bundle 3, and 3 conventional beam bridge under Bundle 4.
Lycoming County Commissioners and Planners have developed a model for future bridge bundles (hopefully) here in the County, and for other Counties to follow and we than you again for the trust you have placed in Bassett Engineering in allowing us to share in this groundbreaking program.